I can’t decide whether it’s because shopping malls gives me panic-attack style heebie jeebies, or simply because I just have a strong love for the underdog, either way, I would much prefer to give my money to independent creatives and small businesses who are carving their path and following their dreams this Christmas.
There are a multitude of reasons why it is worth going local and shopping small for your gifts and groceries this year. We look at five of the best…
Supporting small business and shopping local helps to support our local ecosystem; this brings us one step towards forming a strong sense of community. Locally owned businesses support strong communities by building abundant and culturally rich town hubs, transforming strangers into tightly-knit webs of community, and contributing to local causes. The character of your local community is often defined by your one-of-a-kind small businesses. In an increasingly homogenised world, communities that preserve this, have a distinct economic advantage.
I find shopping at the major chain stores brain-numbingly boring and frustrating. Everything looks the same and is essentially made from the same cookie-cutter formula of the old demand equals supply. These major businesses are merely providing the obvious answers and solutions to a complacent society who open their wallets to mass-marketing and blatant advertising. On the other hand, small business owners make and collate products that are hand-picked, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests, passions and the needs of their local community. By shopping small we are voting for product diversity and one of a kind creativity.
By supporting small businesses and independent creatives, we are in fact paying their rent, helping them get off the mi-gorengs, and allowing them the opportunity to keep fulfilling their passions. As a small business owner myself, I know how wonderful it feels to receive the support you need to bring you one step closer to your wildest dreams becoming a reality.
- LOCAL ECONOMY
Alarmingly, 70 cents of every dollar spent in Australia ends up in the pockets of Coles and Woolworths. We’re under the impression that we need to shop in supermarkets and their affiliate stores for reasons of convenience, variety and price (source). However, when you buy from independent, locally owned businesses, more than 65% of your money will stay within your own community. And the good news is, that what goes around comes around. Research shows that small business owners recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy and community, enriching the whole community. When you support small businesses, you’re helping to pay it forward.
- ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY:
I hate to break it to you, but buying out-of-season produce, like strawberries in December, significantly lowers your eco-credentials. As does eating turkey and carrots that have been flown halfway round the world and wrapped in layers of plastic. When you shop at local butchers, bakers, farm shops and green-grocers, it is likely that a decent percentage of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey. Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and flavour. The choices you make to live more sustainably often involve choosing ‘greener’ alternatives or finding ways to reduce your impact on the environment, and filling the Santa sack (or belly!), is no exception. By supporting local stores, you are travelling less and requiring less things to be shipped, which means less carbon, pollution and traffic congestion. Big ups to you my friend!
“Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It Means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.”
– Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local.
Make your dollars count this Christmas, Santa would be proud of you.